Missouri officially signs Illinois transfer Mark Smith

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Just days after his commitment to play for the Missouri men’s basketball program, Mark Smith put pen to paper. He officially signed Monday, confirming his transfer from Illinois.

“We are excited to have Mark Smith join the Mizzou Basketball Family,” Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said in a release. “Mark is a high character individual and a great fit for our program. We can’t thank his parents, Yvonne and Anthony, enough for trusting us with their son. He is a dynamic, talented scorer and distributor, and we can’t wait to get him to campus.”

Smith, who stands 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 225 pounds, made 19 starts in 31 games as a freshman at Illinois. The former Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball of Illinois in 2017 averaged 5.8 points and 1.4 assists.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, Smith will have to sit out the 2018-19 season. He’ll have three years of eligibility remaining.

“Cuonzo has a lot of faith in me, he’s expecting big things from me in the future and I just feel like we have a really good relationship,” Smith said. “I’m excited to get to Columbia and work with him and the staff.”

Smith was a four-star recruit out of high school and a player Martin recruited before and after he got the Missouri job. Kentucky and Michigan State were also in the mix for Smith out of high school, but the Edwardsville, Illinois, product, who was once committed to play baseball at Missouri, chose Illinois.

After playing a season for the Illini, Smith elected to transfer to find a better fit. He believes he’s found it in Missouri.

Smith joins signees K.J. Santos, Xavier Pinson, Torrence Watson and Javon Pickett, leaving two scholarships open (if Jontay Porter keeps his name in the NBA Draft) for the rest of the 2018 class.

Much has been talked about regarding how Smith’s signing would affect Missouri’s recruitment of Webster Groves point guard Courtney Ramey.

In a story written by Powermizzou.com, Smith referenced Ramey and Belleville West junior forward E.J. Liddell saying: “I think I’ll be a factor in helping recruit those guys.”

Supervising editor is Jack Radetic: sports@columbiamissourian.com, 882-5730.

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